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article imageFlorida passes medical marijuana bill for epileptic children

By Nora Meszaros     May 3, 2014 in World
Tallahassee - A strain of low-potency marijuana became legalized in Florida yesterday to help treat epilepsy and cancer patients, including children.
The bill passed with strong support in both chambers Friday, following a debate over children with epilepsy receiving medical marijuana treatment, The Ledger reports. The bill passed in Senate 30-9, following support from the House on Thursday 111-7 in favour of legalizing the low-THC marijuana strain – more commonly known as “Charlotte’s Web.”
Governor Rick Scott said Thursday he’d sign the bill to support it after discovering that the low-potency strain has been shown to halt seizures in children with intractable epilepsy, according to the Huffington Post.
Although the governor is opposed to medical marijuana, his support of the Charlotte’s Web bill came after reflection on his own personal life. Gov. Scott told the Associated Press that as a parent and grandparent, he wants “to make sure my children, my grandchildren have access to the health care they want.”
There are four dispensaries approved for the highly-regulated and controversial strain of marijuana, but there are no confirmed reports on specific dispensaries.
“Charlotte’s Web” contains up to 0.8 percent THC, the chemical that causes users to feel high, while the average THC levels in marijuana sit at about 15 percent, CBS Miami reports. Charlotte’s Web contains normal levels of cannabidiol, which is used to treat seizures, and will be available in an oil-based form, according to CBS Miami.
The strain was named after Charlotte Figi, a U.S. girl who was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy, and suffered roughly 350 seizures a week until she began using the marijuana oil, CTV News reports. Colorado cannabis producer and Charlotte’s Web developer Josh Stanley told Canada AM Tuesday that after two-and-a-half years of medical marijuana use, Charlotte is 97% seizure-free.
Charlotte's story was most recently publicized via the CNN documentary Weed produced and hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Weston, Florida resident Seth Hyman was reportedly delighted to hear of the success of the Charlotte’s Web bill, the CBS Miami reports. His daughter, eight-year-old Rebecca, suffers from a genetic disorder that causes her to have nearly constant, life-threatening seizures, according to CBS Miami.
“We’re very excited,” Hyman told CBS Miami Friday. “We’re looking forward to our daughter receiving the medicine she needs to hopefully control or even eliminate her seizures.”
The success of Charlotte’s Web under Josh Stanley’s administration has seen massive success in Florida. Stanley’s next steps are to market the product to children in Canada, following some alleged instances of Canadian families heading south of the border to receive the drug for seizure reduction, CTV News reports. Currently, Stanley is negotiating with Health Canada to determine whether Charlotte’s Web would be proper for the Canadian clientele.
Health Canada does not permit the sale of cannabis resins, oils, extractions, and/or edible marijuana products. Only dry marijuana products can be sold to licensed patients. Under the new medical marijuana regulations, approved licensed producers will be able to sell marijuana to patients, unlike Health Canada's previous policy allowing approved individual growers to supply marijuana to card-holding patients.
In an interview with Canada AM Tuesday, Stanley said the current medical marijuana legislation in Canada is “archaic” and stressed that for children, Charlotte’s Web is a matter of life or death.
More about Florida, Legislature, medical marijuana bill, epileptic, marijuana for children
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